WHY IT’S GREAT: Just 31 miles west of Portland, 1,800-acre L. L. “Stub” Stewart is one of Oregon’s newest state parks at a spry five years old. But this month, it also claims some of the freshest (and closest) singletrack in the metro area. Over the past year, volunteers from the Northwest Trail Alliance and Hillsboro-based Westside Trail Federation have put their collective helmets and pulaskis together to carve out another 1.5 miles (and counting) of mountain-bike specific trails, laying the groundwork for a challenging freeride area complete with wooden ramps and log jumps. Get a taste of what’s to come on National Trails Day (June 2) when NWTA and WTF members lead tours of newly minted terrain, including extensions off the signature trail, North Caddywhomper Way, a pine needle–laden cruiser that skirts lush ravines, dodges old-growth stubs, and dives under mossy snags along one of the park’s highest ridgelines.
DON’T FORGET: Bike Gallery staffers will be on-site June 2 with a fleet of 2012 demo bikes to test-drive. Not a fat-tire fan? Stub is crisscrossed with more than 15 miles of multiuse trails, including trailhead access to the 21-mile, paved Banks-Vernonia State Trail, completed in 2010.
POST-HIKE WATERING HOLE: Blue House Café This five-year-old café is a Mediterranean-focused gem hiding where you’d least expect it—the tiny logging town of Vernonia. Gyros come loaded with juicy seared lamb and beef strips and are served alongside plates of paprika-dashed hummus and shaved-almond baklava. Rotating microbrews include dark and red wheat ryes and a knockout amber ale. 919 Bridge St, Vernonia; 503-429-4350; blue-house-cafe.com
TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS: From Portland, follow Highway 26 west to Route 47, and turn right. Drive 4 miles and look for the park entrance on the right. $5 day use fee